In petitions that have been rejected, but sentence has not been carried out, convict may come back seeking open court
A Five-Judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, in a majority judgment, decide that review of death sentence cases will be heard in open court by a Bench of three judges.
In a 4:1 majority judgment, the Bench led by Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha directed that death row convicts whose death penalty have been reviewed by a Bench of less than three judges can move the Supreme Court in one month to re-open their review petitions.
Justice J. Chelameswar gave the minority judgment while Justice Rohinton Nariman authored the majority one.
However, the judgment follows the implementation of the newly amended Supreme Court Rules 2013 from August 19. The amended rules provide that “every cause, appeal or other proceedings” in a death penalty case would be heard by a Bench of not less than three judges.
Death penalty matters were usually heard by Two-Judge Benches.
The 2013 Rules extend to pending death penalty-related cases also. It says any pending death sentence matters in which a Bench of less than three judges are of the opinion that the accused deserves death, the matter concerned will be referred to the Chief Justice of India, who will in turn constitute a Three-Judge Bench to hear it.
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